Most employees start their career at Volkswagen as trainees. The quality of this vocational training is essential for the development of specialist skills in the workforce. Volkswagen has stepped up its commitment to the training of young people in the last few years: in September 2010, the number of employees in vocational training across the Volkswagen Group exceeded 10,000 for the first time. At the end of 2010, Volkswagen AG was training approximately 4,500 apprentices and students in 32 professions and 21 degree courses at its six German locations under the StIP integrated study and traineeship scheme.
Volkswagen is also nurturing particularly talented vocational trainees in talent groups for young specialists. Talent groups have existed at all Volkswagen AG sites since the end of 2010. These are an invaluable tool for providing support to technically and intellectually gifted employees in managing the transition from vocational training to professional work and help participants make a smooth switch to a department in which they have already acquired specialized knowledge.
Since 2006, on completion of their training, young people at the start of their career have had the opportunity to take part in the “Wanderjahre” (Years Abroad) program, spending twelve months at one of the Group’s international locations. So far, over 200 young employees of the Volkswagen Group have taken this chance to gain initial work experience outside Germany. 17 companies in 13 different countries now participate in the “Wanderjahre” program.
AGE STRUCTURE OF THE EMPLOYEES OF THE VOLKSWAGEN GROUP
age in years, percentages
Every year, the Group Board of Management and the World Works Council present the “Best Apprentice Award” to the Group’s best trainees. The 2010 ceremony was held in Emden at the end of October, when the Group Board of Management and World Works Council presented Best Apprentice Awards to 22 trainees from twelve countries. It was the first time in the Award’s ten-year history that a Scania trainee was honored as one of the best apprentices.
Going forward, uniform standards of expertise will form the basis of vocational training and securing a job at Volkswagen. These standards, which have been developed for the five core automotive vocations, are already being used in vocational training. Standards of expertise are currently being developed for three more vocations. These will not only help to further standardize the quality of vocational training, but also to systematically focus the training on the areas of expertise required in the workplace.
In 2008, Volkswagen launched the StartUp Direct trainee program to give young university graduates a head start in the Company. Over a two-year period, participants in the program not only work in their own department and familiarize themselves with the Company, but also attend supplementary training seminars. The program additionally includes multiple-week placements in production and sales as well as an optional foreign placement.
University graduates with an international focus can alternatively enter the StartUp Cross program. This 18-month international program includes a three-month international placement. Over 800 trainees have passed through one of these two programs since their launch in 2008.
In the last ten years, some 1,400 young people who demonstrated outstanding abilities and dedication during their internships at Volkswagen have been included in the Student Talent Bank, Volkswagen’s staff development program for people who are still at university. Volkswagen supports and nurtures these former interns until they finish their studies with events such as workshops, specialist presentations, seminars, or visits to Volkswagen sites, building ties with talented students in the process.